Tonight I’ll disconnect the phone
and lock all doors
and close the curtains.
It will be me and my TV,
some sushi maybe
and some wine.
The couch and comfy cushions
now a small tropical island
in a sea of quiet bliss.
I’ll start with something light
and frothy - something
that will make me smile:
‘Arsenic and Old Lace’ or
‘Beauty and the Beast‘,
‘Great Expectations’ maybe,
before it’s time to brace myself,
to go all-out for perfect bliss -
a box of hankies at the ready.
Yes, for here we are again:
in Paris and in black & white -
and yes of course: it’s raining.
Two people meet and fall in love
while Europe’s burning
and the armies march.
Then, of course, their time runs out
and they must part and say goodbye
amidst the smoke of waiting trains.
(A station is the best farewell:
its sounds and smells so redolent
of love and desolation.)
The camera now shuts its eyes
and when it dares to look again
it is upon a different scene -
another place, another time,
of deserts and of nightclubs,
of Nazi boots and gambling debts:
a place without much hope,
but that for some has now become
their lonely bit of exile.
So, enter Rick into his bar,
a cigarette between his lips,
a hat that’s almost jaunty.
Ah well, you know the story, don’t you?
Everybody surely knows this movie:
Those images of hope and loss,
of grief and laughter - all those
long goodbyes and then those songs:
“You must remember this
A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh.
The fundamental things apply as time goes by.”
A perfect movie and a perfect ending.
Sad, of course, for yes,
it’s yet another parting…
But what a world to visit once again,
where everything must always be about
these old, familiar enchantments.
Love and loss – and duty, honour
and the faith that all of this will conquer evil
conquer shadows, conquer time.